Missing a tooth is very common in adulthood. On average, people ages 20-64 have three or more missing or decayed teeth, according to the American Dental Association. A tooth can fall out because of injury, infection, or decay, bringing issues that go beyond aesthetics.
If you’re missing a tooth and wish to avoid complications while improving your smile, contact William M. Schneider, DDS or request an appointment on our website.
It could be a sign of gum disease
A tooth that unexpectedly falls out can be a complication of gum disease. For some people, no other obvious signs appear until this happens. Also called gingivitis or periodontitis, gum disease also causes red, inflamed gums and bleeding between your teeth. It usually stems from plaque buildup on the teeth. Without treatment, gum disease can progress to inflammation affecting your tooth sockets, ligaments, and jawbone. Gum disease is also linked with heart disease.
You might have osteoporosis
Tooth loss can also happen because of osteoporosis, a condition that causes weakness and low density of your bones and raises the risk for fractures. Osteoporosis and related tooth loss are especially common among adults age 65 and older. Like gum disease, osteoporosis is a progressive condition. So the sooner you receive proper treatment, the better.
Missing teeth can lead to further dental complications
Every tooth in your mouth supports its surrounding teeth and allows you to participate in tasks such as chewing properly. Even one missing tooth can bring about complications that affect surrounding teeth, as well as your gums and overall dental health.
A lost tooth can also weaken your jawbone and shift your teeth. This can have a domino effect, creating gaps and leaning or crowding. If this happens, you can experience related headaches and have difficulty cleaning various teeth, making way for more tooth loss and decay.
Once a tooth is missing
Thankfully, numerous effective treatment options exist for lost or missing teeth, including:
- Dentures, which may be ideal if you’ve lost most or all of your teeth
- Bridges, which anchor to surrounding teeth
- Implants, which look and function just like a natural tooth
With any of these options, you’ll want to develop and maintain positive dental hygiene habits to ensure lasting results and guard against addition tooth loss. With proper care, you can enjoy healthy teeth that stay in place for the long term.
To find out if you’re a good candidate for a bridge, dentures, or dental implants, contact our office in Walnut Creek, California.